Debian Glossary Only.

If you don't find the entry you wanted below, check

Or you can add it yourself. If you can't define it yourself you can put ToDo instead, but always check the sites mentioned above - if it isn't Debian-specific, an existing definition elsewhere is likely to be more helpful.

Jump to : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Symbols: .(dot)



The process of taking over as maintainer of a package that has been orphaned or tagged RFA.


A Debian member who advocates an application. Advocates should know the applicant fairly well and should be able to give an overview of the applicant's work, interests, and plans. Advocates are often the sponsors of an applicant.


Alioth is a collaborative development environment based on the FusionForge software as a service for the Debian project and community.

Alioth (guest) account

To contribute to a project hosted on Alioth, register for a guest account, then ask to have that account given commit rights.


A port (formerly a release architecture and still available via debports) using the Linux kernel on (Compaq/Digital) Alpha hardware.


See Application Manager.


A port (and release architecture in squeeze) using the Linux kernel on 64bit PCs - technically x86-64 or AMD64 or Intel64, nontechnically most new consumer PCs.


Short for "Architecture Not Allowed In Source"; used in bug reports for package removal, usually indicating that the number of architectures for which the package is to be built has been reduced. Nothing to do with the name Anaïs (cf. britney etc.).


A person requesting membership in the Debian project; prospective Debian developer.

Application Manager (AM)

A Debian member who is assigned to an applicant to collect the information needed by the Debian account managers to decide about an application. One application manager can be assigned to more than one applicant. Nothing to do with software applications or package management.


Debian's Advanced Package Tool (or perhaps Advanced Packaging Tool - neither is "official"), a package management library that handles fetching the list of packages, resolving package dependencies, etc. It then uses dpkg to perform the actual package installation, removal, etc. The package apt provides the commandline tools apt-get and apt-cache, but other APT front-ends exist such as aptitude and synaptic.

The type of system a piece of software is built for:

A set of files:


The term used in Debian Policy for the main, contrib, and non-free divisions of the repositories (also known as components).


A port (superseded by armel and no longer maintained) using the Linux kernel on ARM/StrongARM hardware, a CPU type originally created for the Acorn Archimedes (standing for Acorn RISC Machine).


A port (and release architecture in squeeze) using the Linux kernel on little-endian ARM/StrongARM chips, now common in embedded/mobile devices.


A (work-in-progress) port (not yet a release architecture but available via debports) using the Linux kernel on newer ("hard-float") armel-style hardware with an FPU.


A (work-in-progress) port (not yet a release architecture but available via debports) using the Linux kernel on Atmel's 32-bit RISC architecture.



Backports are versions of packages from testing and unstable that have been rebuilt to be able to install and run on the stable distribution; especially those hosted on

Base system

Binary packages with priority required or important; a minimalist set of packages installed before everything else on a new system. Designed to provide just the things you'd be surprised to find missing on a usable UNIX system. Not to be confused with essential, which is much smaller.


A wanna-build state.

Several potentially confusing (but not Debian-specific) meanings:

Binary package

An installable .deb file as opposed to the source package it's built from. The idea is that this is the "binary" compiled in the package building process (regardless of whether the output .deb contains a binary executable, documentation, or indeed Linux kernel source code). See also Virtual package.


A binary(-package)-only Non-Maintainer Upload, often used in porting - see binNMU.


The codename for Debian 1.3, release date: 1997.


Short for "Birds of a Feather"; a common type of discussion session held at DebConf.


The set of scripts that manages the migration of packages into testing. Originally it was one of many similar FTPmaster scripts with names like katie and madison, most of which have since been swallowed up by DAK.


Short for "Bug Squashing Party"; a get-together of Debian enthusiasts (either virtual or In Real Life) for the purpose of fixing as many bugs as possible.


Short for "Bug Tracking System"


A system for synchronizing bug status in the Debian BTS with external bug tracking systems like Bugzilla. See this mail.



The only package that's literally essential for building a Debian binary package is make (because Policy mandates the use of a Makefile), but the "build-essential" toolkit is a convenient short-cut: a standard set of packages defined to be required for all "normal" Debian packaging work, which can therefore be omitted from lists of build dependencies as obvious, just as essential packages are omitted from install-time dependencies.


The codename for Debian 1.1, release date: 1996.


The queue on ftp-master (alongside NEW) for uploads that need special manual handling, such as D-I images.



Short for "Common Debian Build System" (provided by cdbs).


The term used in sources.list(5) for the main, contrib, and non-free archive areas.


A technical term defined in Policy; a file declared in a binary package's conffiles file is treated specially by dpkg to ensure that local modifications are not blindly overwritten by a package upgrade or deleted by a remove. Conffiles are (always?) stored in /etc, and are often conventional global configuration files but may also be initscripts, cronjobs, or similar.

Configuration file

Any file affecting the operation of a program, or providing site- or host-specific information, or otherwise customizing a program's behavior. May or may not be system-wide, or in an intelligible line-oriented text format, or marked as a conffile. Personal configuration files are traditionally stored as dotfiles in the home directory (see also rc-file).

Additional, external software, in either of two senses:

Control file

As defined in Debian Policy:

  • The control file included in the debian directory of each source package contains dependency information required to build the package, and has separate stanzas containing further information for each binary-package.

  • The control file included in the DEBIAN directory of each binary .deb (formed from the corresponding stanza in the source control file) contains dependency information required to install the package, plus the package description etc.

  • Any "control file"; that is, any file with the same multi-field syntax as the above - for instance, .dsc files are also counted as control files.

  • Custom Debian Distribution (CDD)

    The old name for a subset of Debian configured to support a particular target group out-of-the-box. Now known as Debian Pure Blends.

    Has two related Debian-specific meanings:



    (Short for "Debian Archive Kit") The toolset used to manage the Debian repositories - see DakHowTo.


    Short for "Debian Account Manager".


    Short for "Debian Developer".


    Short for "Debian Data Export".


    Short for the "Debian Documentation Project".


    The Debian Developer's Packages Overview, which lists the packages maintained by a Debian Developer or Team.


    See DebCamp; the hacking session right before DebConf.

    Two things distinguished by capitalization:

    Debian Account

    Typically the login account of a Debian Developer, but sometimes also used to refer to a Debian Maintainer account. See also Alioth account.

    Debian Account Manager (DAM)

    A Debian member who has been delegated by the Debian project leader to manage Debian account creation and removal. The DAM has the final decision over an application.

    Debian Contributor

    A general term for active members of the Debian community, whether or not they have DD status; sometimes used to mean the status of a non-uploading DD (as recognized by general resolution).

    Debian Data Export (DDE)

    A web interface giving access to Debian data in various formats. See DDE, ProjectB, UDD.

    Debian Developer (DD)

    A Debian Project member who has gone through the New Maintainer process and had their application accepted is called a Debian Developer.

    Debian Documentation Project

    A Debian sub-project covering various documentation issues. See webpages.

    Debian Installer (D-I)

    Debian Installer is the software used to initially install Debian on your hard disk. This should not be confused with the software used to install additional packages on a running Debian system (see APT).

    Debian Maintainer (DM)

    The status of a person who has passed the Debian Maintainer process. A Debian Maintainer is granted some rights over packages - in particular, the right to upload packages to the Debian archives. DMs aren't voting members of the Debian Project. See also Debian Developer, Alioth account. Not to be confused with the role of package Maintainer.

    Debian Member

    Full members of the Debian Project are referred to as Debian Developers. (ToDo: link to one coherent central explanation of the distinction between contributors, developers, maintainers, and uploaders, assuming there is one.)

    Debian New Maintainer

    The process of becoming an official Debian Developer, or a person going through that process. See also Applicant.

    Debian Policy Manual
    The document that describes what packages should contain, how they should be configured, and generally how packages fit together to create a Debian system.

    Debian Project

    An organization of free software developers spread around the world with a common goal: to produce a completely free operating system. See the Debian web pages for more information.

    Debian Project Leader (DPL)

    The official representative of the Debian Project to the outside world, with internal managerial and coordinatory duties; elected annually. See

    Debian Pure Blends

    A subset of Debian that is configured to support a particular target group out-of-the-box. Debian Pure Blends were formerly known as Custom Debian Distributions (CDD).

    Debian Security Advisory (DSA)

    A warning message sent to the debian-security-announce mailinglist about a security alert for Debian software with available fixes. Not to be confused with the DSA team.

    Debian System Administrators (DSA)

    The Debian System Administrators team, who handle the basic infrastructure of the project. Not to be confused with DSA messages.

    Debports, a site hosting ports that do not currently qualify as official release architectures and are not yet (or no longer) integrated into the main archives.


    A set of queues on ftp-master where the queue daemon stores packages that were uploaded to the corresponding delayed queue - see README.


    Short for "Debian External Health Status".


    A set of directories on ftp-master (ranging from "0-day" to "15-day") that receive uploads not intended for immediate processing, usually to give the package's maintainer an opportunity to check the acceptability of an NMU before it goes into the archive. Compare deferred.


    Short for "Debian Enhancement Proposal", an RFC-like mechanism for planning efforts within the Debian Project.

    Dependency-based boot

    A scheme, standard since squeeze, for organizing initscripts; "dependency-based" here means checking for things like networking and mounted file systems, not package installation relationships.

    Dependency package

    An empty binary package that exists only for the sake of its declared dependencies on other packages, for instance to keep the current default version of gcc installed. See metapackage and transition-package for other common types.


    (Plus more rarely dep-wait-removed) A wanna-build state.


    A term with various senses in finance, IP law, etc., but used in Debian for "child" distributions like Ubuntu; see the DerivativesFrontDesk.


    Short for the Debian Derivatives Exchange Project.


    Short for the "Debian Free Software Guidelines"; the rules of thumb included in the Debian Social Contract that can be used to judge whether material counts for the project's purposes as free. The string dfsg is often appended to package names and version-strings to indicate that the upstream version has been slightly modified to allow it to stay in main.


    See Debian-Installer.

    Distribution (distro, dist)



    See Debian Maintainer.


    Short for "DM-Upload-Allowed"; not to be confused with DMUP.


    Short for "Debian Machine Use Policies"; the Acceptable Use Policy for machines on the Debian network. Not to be confused with DMUA.

    DM-Upload-Allowed (DMUA)

    a field in control files that can be added (normally by a sponsor) to license uploads signed by a Debian Maintainer rather than a full Debian Developer.


    For Debian-specific file extensions ("dotdeb" etc.) see . (dot).


    An action not officially supported in Debian package management, though often possible (and where it isn't, a purge and re-install of the older version is often good enough).


    Short for "Debian Project Leader".


    The Debian Python Modules Team, who work to improve the Python modules situation in Debian.


    Short for either "Debian Security Advisory" or "Debian Systems Administrators".

    Dummy package

    An empty package created either to circumvent the dependency system (see equivs) or to express dependencies of its own (see metapackage, dependency package).



    The highest upload urgency level, synonymous with critical.


    A set of binary packages providing the absolute minimal functionality that must be available and usable on the system at all times. The idea is, if you're hit by a software or hardware failure halfway through an upgrade, leaving your package database in an inconsistent state, the essential packages should still work well enough to let you perform repair work.


    The codename for Debian 4.0, release date: 2007.


    The experimental repository is an incomplete distribution which developers can use to try out versions of software not intended to migrate to testing, and which users are warned not to install.


    The lowest package priority.



    (Plus more rarely failed-removed) A wanna-build state.


    See Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.

    Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS)

    the FilesystemHierarchyStandard defines the main directories and their contents in Linux and other Unix-like computer operating systems. The Debian Policy Manual only explains the exceptions applying to Debian.


    Compliant with the DFSG, and eligible to go in main.


    The distribution development freeze is a period of time when the Debian Project is working to finalize and stabilize the content of the testing distribution (resolving Release Critical bugs, making final tweaks to Debian-Installer, deciding the contents of the CDs, etc.) before its release as the new stable. Debian's release policy is one of Release when Ready, so the length of the freeze period isn't fixed, but it tends to last something like six months.

    Front Desk

    The front desk members receive the initial applications, advocation messages, and final application reports. They are the point of contact if problems arise with an application.


    Short for "Fails To Build From Source", a bugreport type produced by the build infrastructure when a binary package cannot be compiled.

    FTP master
    Several things, none of which necessarily involve the File Transfer Protocol:


    An aptitude action more or less equivalent to (and formerly known as) a dist-upgrade.


    General Resolution (GR)

    A decision ratified by a vote of Debian Developers, according to the procedure specified in the Debian Constitution.


    In autobuilder jargon, packages are "taken" when an attempt is made to build them. Failures are often transient, fixed by simply trying again after a few days, so a "giveback" removes the "taken" flag from the package in the wanna-build database and puts it back into the normal needs-build queue.


    Short for "General Resolution".


    An RC bug severity.



    The codename for Debian 2.0, release date: 1998.


    Adoption without prior permission, sometimes justified by a sufficiently buggy package and MIA maintainer.


    A port (formerly a release architecture and still available via debports) using the Linux kernel on Hewlett Packard Precision Architecture RISC workstations and servers.


    A (work-in-progress) port (not yet a release architecture but available via debports) using the Hurd kernel on i386-style hardware.



    A "port" (or rather the original release architecture) using the Linux kernel on 32-bit PCs - the kind dominating the market through the 90s/00s and known variously as IBM-clone, x86, IA-32, or (W)Intel-compatible computers.


    A port (and release architecture in squeeze) using the Linux kernel on Intel IA-64 AKA Itanium hardware, not to be confused with amd64.


    Short for "I Am Not A Debian Developer" - a caveat in the tradition of IANAL.


    Short for "I Am Not A Lawyer", often used on the debian-legal mailing list. Not Debian-specific; see Wikipedia's definition.


    Short for "Internal Compiler Error"; used in bug reports for package removal, usually indicating that gcc does not yet fully support a new architecture.

    Two Debian-specific meanings:



    A wanna-build state.

    (Not Debian-specific) A highly ambiguous initialism, which can mean:


    Short for "Intent to Adopt", used to track the status of orphaned packages (see WNPP) or documentation (see DDP).


    Short for "Intent to Document", used by a documentation maintainer who intends to start writing a document. Using the WNPP system avoids duplicated effort; see DDP.


    Short for "Intent To Package", used by a Debian Developer or Maintainer who intends to package a piece of software; see WNPP.


    Short for "Intent to Translate", used by a translator who intends to start translating a document. This, like the above, is a mechanism to prevent duplication of efforts; see DDP.




    The script (these days really just a subcomponent of DAK) that validates uploaded packages (and mails the uploader to say whether they've been accepted).


    A port (and "technology preview" release architecture in squeeze) using the FreeBSD kernel on amd64-style hardware.


    A port (and "technology preview" release architecture in squeeze) using the FreeBSD kernel on i386-style hardware.


    Short for "Key Signing Party", a common event at DebConfs and other real-life get-togethers.



    A tag indicating a bug in localization (en_GB: localisation) support.


    The codename for Debian 5.0, release date: 2009 (oldstable).


    (A tag indicating a bug in) Large File Support (meaning individual files over two gigabytes). Not to be confused with the LinuxFromScratch distribution.


    The default upload urgency level.



    A rumored port which has never made it as far as debports using the Linux kernel on Renesas M32R embedded hardware.


    A port (formerly a release architecture and still available via debports) using the Linux kernel on Motorola-680x0 CPUs, once common in Sun3/Apple/Atari/Amiga machines.


    The "truly Debian" archive area, reserved for free software.


    The maintainer of a package is the person or group of people responsible for package maintenance; see Debian Policy. See also Debian Maintainer and Debian New Maintainer process.

    Mass bug filing (MBF)

    Reporting a great number of bugs for the same problem. See the Debian Developer's Reference.


    Short for "Mass Bug Filing".


    An occasionally seen word for "an individual being mentored". This term, like sponsee, may trigger responses of "that's not even a word" in some speakers (though alternatives like "mentoree" aren't much safer).


    An experienced Debian Member who takes responsibility for assisting a less experienced member or Applicant. Outside occasional efforts such as the Debian Women mentoring program, such relationships generally exist only on an informal and unofficial basis. Every Applicant has an advocate who may effectively act as a mentor; but despite the name of the debian-mentors mailing list, its primary function is to put new maintainers in touch with sponsors.


    A dependency package designed to automatically pull in a family of packages; may function as a shortcut to simplify installation of a full desktop environment. Sometimes hyphenated ("meta-package"), sometimes used as a synonym for plain dependency package.


    Short for "Missing In Action"; (a database tracking) Debian package maintainers who have abandoned their duties without retiring. Nothing to do with the name Mia (cf. britney).


    Any process that involves transferring a large set of items, such as (most often in Debian) the automatic movement of packages from one suite to the next. No, it doesn't mean they travel in swarms, and they don't fly back in the winter.


    A low bug severity.


    A port (and release architecture in squeeze) using the Linux kernel on big-endian SGI-style MIPS hardware.


    A port (and release architecture in squeeze) using the Linux kernel on the little-endian version of mips-style hardware.



    A source package with no upstream and no use outside of Debian can leave out some complications in its packaging by using the "native" source format.


    Short for "Not Built from Source"; one of the criteria used to detect candidates for automated package removal, in this case removing a binary package that isn't built from any remaining source package. See ftpmaster_Removals.


    A wanna-build state.


    The queue on ftp-master for packages uploaded for the first time, which need to be reviewed first - see REJECT. This includes renames, packages moving between areas, and source-packages that build new binary packages.

    New Maintainer (NM)

    See Debian New Maintainer, Applicant, Debian Maintainer.


    Short for "Non-Maintainer Upload"; a version of a package that wasn't uploaded by an official Maintainer, but rather by another Debian Developer. This typically occurs for security updates, Mass Bug Filings, and when the maintainer is on holiday - see Debian Developer's Reference.


    Not compliant with the DFSG; also, the archive area for software which is non-free but can be legally distributed by Debian.


    (Obsolete) A subdivision of the Debian archives needed for the slink/potato/woody releases to deal with US legal restrictions on the export of cryptographic software. Software such as GPG was hosted only on mirrors outside the USA.


    The default bug severity.


    A wanna-build state (not to be confused with non-us).


    Short for "Never Part Of A Stable Release"; used in bug reports for package removal, implying that users won't see the package's absence as a regression.


    Short for "Newer Version In Unstable"; one of the criteria used to detect candidates for automated package removal, in this case removing an experimental build as superseded by a more recent build already present in unstable. See ftpmaster_Removals.



    Short for the QA status "Orphaned".



    The distribution before the current stable release, which continues to receive some level of security support for a while (commonly a year) after it is superseded.

    Oldstable proposed-updates

    The equivalent to stable-proposed-updates for oldstable.


    A package priority (the highest priority that's not installed by default).


    Short for "Oldstable Proposed Updates"; used to tag subject lines of processing requests. See PU.


    In Release files and aptitude searches, the organization providing the repository - examples include Debian, Debian Backports, and Google, Inc..


    (Not to be confused with the following) In Debian package management, a stray installed package with no reverse dependencies (such as a library for which the corresponding executable has been purged), which can be detected with tools such as deborphan. Such unwanted relics are now increasingly tracked by APT itself.

    Orphaned (O)

    (Not to be confused with the above) Used in package QA to indicate that a package has no maintainer, and is in need of adoption (see ITA and WNPP). If the package has a priority of standard or higher, the severity of the orphaning bug report should be set to important. The term is similarly used to indicate documentation that the author is declaring abandoned; see DDP.



    Package maintenance

    The software-development task of looking after a package within Debian (that is, bugtracking, following upstream development, etc. - see maintainer); not to be confused with package management.

    Package management

    The administrative task of regulating the software installed on a particular system (using tools such as APT); not to be confused with package maintenance.

    Package Tracking System (PTS)

    The Package Tracking System lets you follow almost everything related to the life of a package, and is of interest for co-maintainers, QA workers, and advanced users.


    Short for "Python Applications Packaging Team".


    A BTS tag indicating that "a solution to this bug has been found and an upload will be made soon". In practice this may mean anything from "my regular sponsor is away for the weekend" to "it'll be folded into the scheduled major release in the new year".


    APT pinning is the name given to the use of apt_preferences(5) to define a modified system of package-management priorities. This makes it possible, for instance, to run an essentially stable system but specify particular packages for which newer candidates (e.g. backports) will automatically be preferred for installation.


    Short for "Package Installation, UPgrading And Removal Testing Suite" - see piuparts.

    Point release

    Point releases are updated versions of a release, with incremented minor revision number (hence the name), incorporating all accumulated security fixes and grave bug-fixes. (Also, In Real Life, a type of minor avalanche.)


    The popcon score of a Debian package (see webpage) is meant to reflect its "popularity"; it is derived from data generated via the package popularity-contest, which periodically and anonymously submits statistics about which binary packages are installed on a system and whether they are used.



    The codename for Debian 2.2, release date: 2000.


    A port (and release architecture in squeeze) using the Linux kernel on IBM/Motorola PowerPC hardware, meaning PowerMacs and other pre-Intel Macs.


    A port (not yet a release architecture but available via debports) using the Linux kernel on a slightly more obscure variant of powerpc hardware; "SPE" stands for "Signal Processing Extension" (and not as you might have guessed "Synergistic Processing Element").


    A ranking system for binary packages, indicating how important it is for users to have them installed, and ranging from extra to required. See Debian Policy.


    A database storing Debian archive metadata (such as what versions of what packages are in what suites for what architectures) used by DAK. See ProjectB, DDE, UDD.


    (Not to be confused with virtual package, prospective package, or the package sudo) A BTS address that doesn't correspond to a package name; see definitions.


    Short for "Package Tracking System".


    Short for "(Stable) Proposed Updates"; used to tag subject lines of processing requests. See also OPU, TPU.


    In Debian package management, to uninstall a package completely, deleting its conffiles. See remove.



    Short for "Quality Assurance" - see


    Has several easily confused meanings:


    A message from the FTP Masters denying entry to the Debian archives for a package in NEW, on the grounds of legality, namespace issues, or general bugginess; see FAQ.


    see Debian Release

    Release Architecture

    An architecture supported as part of a stable release; ports qualify for this status when their autobuilders prove capable of "keeping up" and successfully building a sufficient proportion of the archive.

    Release Critical (RC)

    A bug that cannot be allowed in stable; a release cannot occur until all such bugs have been handled (by removal if necessary).


    RequestTracker (RT)

    The issue-tracking system, used by the Security and DSA teams (among others).


    The highest package priority; not to be confused with essential.


    The codename for Debian 1.2, release date: 1996.


    Short for "Request For Adoption"; a WNPP bug tag indicating that (due to lack of time, interest, or other resources) the current maintainer is asking for someone else to maintain this package. They will maintain it in the meantime, but perhaps not in the best possible way. Compare Orphaned.


    Short for "Request For Documentation"; a DDP bug tag indicating that a manual or other documentation on a given topic is not yet available on the DDP and the reporting user requests that DDP members should give it priority when deciding which documents need to be written.


    Short for "Request For Help"; a WNPP bug tag indicating that the current maintainer wants to continue to maintain this package, but needs some help to do this. This may be because the maintainer is overstretched in general, or because this package is particularly hard to maintain, or because bugs require specialist expertise to fix.


    Short for "Request For Package"; a WNPP bug tag indicating that the reporter has found an interesting piece of software and would like someone else to maintain it for Debian.


    Used in subject lines of package removal requests. It might look like it's addressed to the Release Manager, but it's just a shouty version of rm.


    A proposed distribution similar to testing but intended to be advertised as continuously usable. Work is in progress on an unofficial implementation.


    Short for "Request of Maintainer"; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that it has been agreed with the package's own maintainer.

    A word with several technical uses (not Debian-specific), all deriving from the same metaphor of a node structure with a root and branches:


    Short for "Request Of Porter"; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that the package is no longer built on a particular set of architectures.


    Short for "Request of Quality Assurance"; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that it has been agreed with the QA team (usually because the package is orphaned).


    Short for "Request of Release Team"; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that issues have been confirmed by the Release Team.


    Short for "Request of Stable Release Manager"; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that it has been agreed with the powers that be.


    Short for "Request of Security Team"; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that issues have been confirmed by the Security Team.


    Short for "Request Tracker".



    A port (and release architecture in squeeze) using the Linux kernel on IBM s/390 AKA zSeries mainframe hardware.


    A (work-in-progress) port (not yet a release architecture but available via debports) using the Linux kernel and providing a 64bit userland on s390-style hardware.


    An aptitude action more or less equivalent to (and formerly known as) an upgrade.


    The codename for Debian 3.1, release date: 2005.



    The suite used to propagate fixes for security issues into stable, maintained by the security team.


    An RC bug severity.


    A ranking system for bugreports, indicating how important it is for it to be fixed, and ranging from wishlist to critical. See definitions.


    A port (not yet a release architecture but available via debports) using the Linux kernel on Hitachi SuperH hardware (used e.g. in Dreamcasts).

    Not a cross between a shrub and a blintz.


    The permanent codename for unstable ("Still In Development" is an unofficial backronym). While other codenames cycle through from testing to stable to oldstable, the name "Sid" stays in the same place permanently.


    The codename for Debian 2.1, release date: 1999.



    Including source code - a term used e.g. to distinguish a "normal" NMU from a binNMU.

    Source package


    A port (and release architecture in squeeze) using the Linux kernel on 32-bit Sun4-style SPARC hardware.


    A port (not yet a release architecture but available via debports) using the Linux kernel on 64-bit versions of sparc-type hardware.


    Short for "Software in the Public Interest, Inc.", the nonprofit foundation that manages resources and accepts donations on behalf of the Debian Project (which has no legal authority for doing so itself).


    An occasionally seen word for "an individual being sponsored". This term, like mentee, may trigger responses of "that's not even a word" in some speakers (though alternatives like "sponsoree" aren't much safer).


    A Debian Member with upload privileges who uses them on behalf of a package maintainer without such privileges. The sponsor is required to take responsibility for checking that there are no show-stopping quality issues, but is not recorded as the maintainer of the package. A sponsorship may be a one-off event, or the sponsor may also act informally as a mentor, helping to track down bugs and improve the packaging. See also advocate.


    The codename for Debian 6.0, release date: 2011 (the current stable).


    The stable suite is the distribution recommended for production use. Each stable release is "promoted" from testing status as the result of a cycle of development, debugging, and integration that usually lasts about two years.


    The suite where proposed fixes for major bugs in stable are queued for inclusion in a point release.


    The StableUpdates suite (formerly implemented as volatile) is where proposed updates are queued for packages such as virus scanners that become uselessly out of date over the lifespan of a release.


    A package priority (the lowest priority that's installed by default).




    Testing is the Debian distribution automatically generated out of packages migrating from unstable. The first step towards a new stable release is that testing undergoes a freeze.


    The equivalent to stable-proposed-updates for testing, used only in cases where the fixes need to bypass unstable.


    The testing-security suite is only roughly the testing equivalent of stable's security support, because it is run by a different ?team and because most new package versions fixing security bugs can simply go through unstable as usual.


    Short for "This Is Not Legal Advice"; compare IANAL.


    Short for "Testing Proposed Updates"; used to tag subject lines of processing requests. See PU.


    Often short for "library transition". A new version of a widely-used dependency hitting unstable can mean that large numbers of related packages need rebuilds or significant fixes before the whole set can migrate to testing.

    Transition package

    A dependency package designed to automatically replace one package with another, to smooth over a rename or similar migration (especially for users performing a dist-upgrade). Not connected with library transitions.



    Short for "the Ultimate Debian Database". Not to be confused with "Ubuntu Distributed Development".

    Ultimate Debian Database (UDD)

    A single SQL database gathering a lot of data about various aspects of Debian. See UDD, DDE, ProjectB.


    The unstable distribution is where you can find the latest packages introduced into the Debian system.


    In APT (or front-ends), the process of refreshing the package-management system's information about what packages are available from the registered sources. Not to be confused with (or omitted before) an upgrade.



    Putting a package into (the appropriate queue for) a repository, usually meaning on ftp-master.


    A wanna-build state.


    An optional field in control files listing any co-maintainers for a package besides the primary Maintainer (each of which has upload privileges).


    A ranking system for uploads, indicating how important it is for the new version to reach the archives, and ranging from low to critical. See Debian Policy.

    A term with various potentially confusing senses (not Debian-specific):


    The string (corresponding to a numeric uid) that identifies a user to the system. Ambiguous when written as "user name" - root is a username; "Professor Sam Q. McRandom" is a user name.


    (Of a process) Running outside the kernel; everything up to and including init is a user process in this sense. Ambiguous when written as "user space" (which may mean storage capacity available to users).


    Virtual package

    A binary package that exists in name only, with no associated .deb file; used to organize systems of alternative dependencies (multiple binary packages can claim to "Provide" the same virtual package).


    The volatile suite is (roughly speaking) the old name for stable-updates.



    A tool forming part of the autobuild system that maintains a database of the build status of packages; see definitions.


    The codename for the current testing.


    The lowest bug severity (which can include things that aren't literally bugs at all).


    Short for "Work-Needing and Prospective Packages" - a pseudo-package used to collect reports of packages (and potential packages) in need of (new) maintainers in Debian. See ITP, O, RFA, RFH, RFP.


    The codename for Debian 3.0, release date: 2002.


    X Strike Force (XSF)

    The team responsible for maintaining packages for the X Window System in Debian.



    . (dot)


    The file extension used for a Debian changes file, which is a particular format of control file used by the Debian archive maintenance software to process updates to packages.


    The file extension used for debug packages of a type implemented in Ubuntu but not in Debian - see AutomaticDebugPackages


    The file extension used for the standard installable binary package format used by Debian-based distributions.


    The file extension used for a Debian Source Control file, which is a particular format of control file forming a crucial component of a source-package.


    The file extension used for (proposed) separate translation packages - see Dep-4.


    The file extension used for special binary packages containing Debian-Installer modules, not intended for installation on a normal system.